What is it about human beings that distinguish us different from other animals? What makes us strive to go beyond the norm and discover new possibilities rather than living on base instincts? What makes us want to learn the latest and establish innovative and creative findings? We can be curious, reason, and come up with both simple and complex solutions to questions that we ask ourselves internally. Man’s ascent to become the undisputed master of the earth lies in our ability to come up with fresh, new ideas.
“There is one thing that is stronger than armies—an idea whose time has come.” — Victor Hugo.
An idea is an inspiration or a spark that comes intuitively from one’s subconscious due to interaction with the environment. The notion of an idea begins from the mind. An idea usually starts with an intent to bring a concept or ideology to life. However, there are also times when ideas have come to their harbingers unintentionally. In the words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German poet, playwright, and more, once said that “Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.”
Ideas are often formed during brainstorming or think tank sessions, or through discussions. An “idea” is a rough notion or inkling about something we like or want to do in our heads. It is like a spark that arises when a matchstick strikes the reddish material coating (i.e., red phosphorus) on the side of the matchbox. Although it may be a little spark at first; however, it is potent to become a raving flame consuming all in its paths with a fearsome rage. Such is the power of an idea. Ideas are highly abstract and can often lead to different interpretations by other people, depending on their experiences, interests, and backgrounds.
Ideas come to everyone, but not everyone takes advantage of the gift. Developing and nurturing an idea makes all the difference. The result births compelling stories, social and technological innovations that change the global landscape as we know it today. Ideas in the minds of its carriers are what have built business empires. Think Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Disney, Hewlett-Packard, Tesla, Space X, Under Armour, Zoom, to mention but a few. All these billion-dollar business conglomerates and disrupters are all products of ideas. Great ideas require a little more work to execute. The empires’ builders above definitely put in the time and effort to water their ideas and see them bloom.
The concept of watering an idea is analogous to the watering of actual plants. We plant a seed by first burying it in the dirt. The farmer continues to dampen the grain, and it eventually begins to sprout. After it germinates, it grows into a small plant and then to maturity as time elapses. However, while time elapses as the farmer keeps tending the seedling growing into a blossoming plant, the greatest virtue that the farmer possesses is patience. According to a German Proverb, “Patience is a bitter plant, but it bears sweet fruit.” The farmer’s waiting may not be all pleasing; however, harvest time brings a smile to his face and longing heart.
The same happens when we are fortunate enough to find the right seed of an idea. We bury it in the dirt of hard and smart work as we water it with our efforts. In time, ceteris paribus, under the benediction clouds of favor, becomes fruitful and becomes the source of every satisfaction and resplendent success. As the farmers of ideas and thought, we must be patient as we deliberately water our thoughts. A proverb says that “All things come to those who wait.” The magnates that we celebrate today all have something in common—a patient disposition as they water their ideas to germination and blooming. What was once an idea can become a metaphorical tree of wealth and achievement.
Idea generation is an area that has become a subject of tremendous interest in recent times. What’s in an idea? How do they originate, and from where? How can we harness the generation of ideas and channel them into useful and profitable ventures? The truth is that ideas spawn through many different sources. Many people find themselves suddenly coming up with a solution to a pain point or burning problem after a good night’s rest. For some, there’s no better place for ideas than the shower. Another report stipulates that certain types of foods such as coffee, nuts, and seeds over a period have helped them stimulate their thinking to unearth capacity-winning ideas.
Regardless of how ideas come to be, the fundamental means of revealing them comes when we free ourselves from the predictable, ordinary, and lackluster thoughts that dominate most of our dreams. Innovative ideas will not occur in a vacuum. To reason differently through a predetermined system of design thinking requires a systemic approach to problem-solving. Developing and cultivating great ideas become very difficult when we crowd our minds with everyday thoughts and concerns. We must find a way to declutter our minds and think outside the box to have a fighting chance to cultivate winning and daring ideas.
Books are excellent for creating new ideologies and stimulating great ideas. Napoleon Bonaparte, the French statesman and military leader, once said, “Show me an army of leaders, and I’ll show you an army of readers.” Napoleon’s assertion is genuine. According to Inc., we need to pay attention to the reading habits of the most successful leaders of thought and business today. Many Americans, for instance, don’t fancy reading that much. However, those that lead in the industry and many fields are avid readers in their own right.
Did you know that Elon Musk self-taught himself how to build rockets by reading? Today, he has built Space X. Warren Buffet reads 500 pages a day. Mark Cuban makes sure that he devotes 3 hours a day to read. Bill Gates reads 50 books a year (NB. He avidly blogs about his reading adventures on his website, the GatesNotes). According to the Business Insider, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook in 2015 made a reading pledge—he established that he would read one book every other week. Oprah’s Book Club is a testament to her avid devotion to reading. David Rubenstein of Carlyle Group reads up to eight newspapers daily and six books every week. So, what is your excuse? Stop being lazy and become a reader so that you can become a leader in your own right. The habit will help you generate a ton of ideas that can transform your world.
You can read by going to the library. You should also invest in books. Cut down on the cups of joes you drink per month and channel the money into books. Start with reading three chapters a day. Finally, visit Oaekpost every day and enrich your mind with value-added content. Our motto in Oaekpost is “Addit valorem ad animis,” meaning “Adding Value to Minds.” Our content will change your ideology and motivate you to think more and churn-out ideas. Read our articles—dialogue with our followers via the comments area after each piece. Grow your mind and grow your ideas. Spread the love and share our content on all Social Media platforms and let us get the world reading again.
A journal is great for recording dreams and ideas. In my second book, Unearthing Your Latent Potential: Discovering the Gems of Your Subliminal-Self, I extensively covered The Art of Journaling in Chapter Three of the book. In the book, I defined journaling as “a process of recording or keeping track of your thoughts daily or periodically as they come to you.” Whether you choose to journal mechanically by hand or digitally, the onus of the matter is to make sure you record that idea that comes to you. Such an idea could be destiny-transforming and could revolutionize your life and the world at large. It is a great way to structure and develop ideation habits. If you don’t keep a journal, start today.
Before you generate lots of ideas, it is critical to take the time to look at the subject matter from multiple perspectives creatively. You must challenge your assumptions, dig deep to uncover emerging needs, problems, issues, desired experiences, and wishes. Then dig deeper to understand the why—the driving insight behind each one. You need the right balance of ideas, precision, and technique to ensure that an innovative approach is processed and birthed from ideation to modeling. All these attributes are a prerequisite for success.
There are many advantages to generating ideas as part of a group. There is greater diversity in thinking, knowledge, and experience. There is enhanced productivity in less time, and perhaps most important, the ability to generate a broader range of different types of ideas than one can when working alone. Participating in a group brainstorming session can be a gratifying and rewarding experience when appropriately conducted. The more group sessions you attend, the more you will appreciate the feeling of accomplishment from solving challenges through creative collaboration. Once there is the extension of the scope of ideas, it becomes easier to understand which approaches have the highest relevance, importance, and persuasion for your brand or product.
To optimize an idea is to improve a collection of thoughts by identifying the precise components that produce the most significant impact. Idea optimization is highly significant because it structurally trims your pool of ideas down to the one with the most result. As you work on your ideas, it pays to eliminate any redundancies in the concept. It pays to streamline your thoughts. Be consistent with the concept as you prune it to perfection and every success.
“Neither man nor nation can exist without a sublime idea.” — Fyodor Dostoevsky.
While idea generation is a particular skill to have, it is essential to remember that they are not the primary objective; the impact of a plan’s execution is what matters. Ideas add no significant value if you do not do anything to develop them further. The most glaring difference between successes and failures lies in the ability to plod on with your idea until it births profits consistently. Ideas do not come only to one person. It is the speed of execution that makes all the difference.